The Liberal Commons member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte was reacting to Thursday’s news that the Member of Parliament for Labrador resigned his seat and would be seeking re-election in a byelection.
Penashue, the intergovernmental affairs minister, re-paid $30,000 in “ineligible” campaign donations from the 2011 election.
Byrne called it deceitful if the resignation and byelection is part of an attempt to bypass the investigation, and the ultimate findings of Elections Canada into any potential criminal charges.
He said he also can not fathom that somebody could allegedly make that many errors to such a degree and not be aware of it.
“It’s so farcical, it is beyond comedy,” he said. “It is tragedy.”
Penashue does not have much success from his time in the House of Commons to run on, according to Byrne. The long-time Liberal member said changes to employment insurance, old-age security benefits, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and search and rescue resources in Newfoundland and Labrador — including the tragedy of Burton Winters in his own riding.
“What’s Peter Penashue going to do, have his campaign slogan, ‘vote for me, a strong voice in the government of Canada?’ That motto was tested.
“He failed, and he failed miserably.”
With Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones confirming Friday that she is putting her name forward to run in the byelection, Byrne called her the strongest candidate to be able to come forward.
If successful in the nomination, he believes she will be the next Member of Parliament for Labrador.
“Anyone can see the incredible value and strength she would bring, not only to the campaign, but to a team in Ottawa,” he said.